Philanthropist Reuben Feinberg Dies at Age 83

December 13, 2002

Contact: Charles R. Loebbaka at 847/491-4887 or at  

Philanthropist Reuben Feinberg Dies at Age 83

CHICAGO— Reuben Feinberg, 83, a major Chicago-area philanthropist, died Friday (Dec. 13) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Feinberg, a leader in Chicago-area real estate and banking, made gifts to Northwestern University totaling more than $103 million from the Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, a Chicago philanthropic organization. After his most recent gift of $75 million in February, Northwestern University named its medical school the Feinberg School of Medicine in honor of the Feinberg Foundation, which was created by Reuben Feinberg and his brothers: Bernard, Louis and Samuel Feinberg. The $75 million gift was the largest single donation to a Chicago-area university, according to a list of major gifts compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education . The funds were designated for the medical school's endowment and will be used to help support teaching and research.

In making this major gift to the University early this year, Mr. Feinberg said, "I am very pleased to make this gift to Northwestern University and the medical school. The work done by the medical school in research and teaching is critically important to the future of health care, both in the Chicago area and nationally. I know that my brothers who helped create the foundation would be honored, as I am, to have our name associated with the Northwestern University Medical School."

Northwestern University President Henry S. Bienen said, "Mr. Feinberg was a warm and generous person whose extraordinary gifts support worthy causes that benefit the Chicago area and its citizens. Reuben Feinberg was a dear friend. He will be deeply missed by me and by the many others whose lives he touched."

"Mr. Feinberg's generous gifts will significantly enhance medical education and research at Northwestern," said Lewis Landsberg, MD, dean of the medical school and University vice president for medical affairs. Mr. Feinberg's initial interest in medical philanthropy began in 1987 when he was a patient at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was treated by three physicians who are on the faculty of the medical school. A year later, through the foundation, he made a $17 million gift to create the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute, headed by Dr. Francis Klocke. Researchers affiliated with the institute are at the forefront of national efforts to treat and cure cardiovascular disease.

In 1996 the foundation made a $10 million gift to establish as part of the medical school the Frances Evelyn Feinberg Clinical Neurosciences Institute. The institute is under the leadership of John A. Kessler, MD. Named for Mr. Feinberg's late wife, the institute conducts research on the causes of strokes and related neurological disorders and helps develop interventional treatment to lessen brain damage caused by strokes. Mr. Feinberg also established the Louis Feinberg, MD, Professorship in Ophthalmology, held by Lee Jampol, MD. In addition to his gifts to the medical school, Mr. Feinberg was a major contributor to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, including a $15 million gift for the in-patient care facility that is the centerpiece of hospital's new medical center. The Feinberg Pavilion has 492 private rooms, cutting-edge technology and equipment.

Mr. Feinberg, a resident of Lake Point Towers in Chicago, is the former president of the Jefferson State Bank in Chicago and was serving as vice chairman of the board of Parkway Bank and Trust, Harwood Heights. He has been president of the Feinberg Foundation since its inception in 1969. In 1996 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Northwestern.

Established in 1969 and solely supported by the four Feinberg brothers, the Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation was created to honor the memory of their parents through contributions to religious, charitable and educational activities. The family, involved in real estate development in and near Chicago's Loop, was a pioneer developer of the West Loop as well as other shopping centers and office buildings.

Mr. Feinberg was preceded in death by his wife and three brothers. There are no immediate survivors.